November 3

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Nov 3, 1969:

Nixon calls on the "silent majority"

President Richard Nixon goes on television and radio to call for national solidarity on the Vietnam War effort and to gather support for his policies; his call for support is an attempt to blunt the renewed strength of the antiwar movement.

Pledging that the United States was "going to keep our commitment in Vietnam," he said U.S. forces would continue fighting until the communists agreed to a fair and honorable peace, or until the South Vietnamese were able to defend themselves on their own. He said that he had already withdrawn 60,000 U.S. troops and would make additional reductions as the situation permitted. He also reported progress in the "Vietnamization" effort to increase the combat capability of South Vietnam's armed forces so that they could assume more responsibility for the war. Having provided this perspective on the situation, he then appealed to the American people, calling on the "great silent majority" for their support as he worked for "peace with honor" in Vietnam.

A Gallup Poll survey carried out in the wake of the president's speech indicated that 77 percent were in support of Nixon's policy in Vietnam. Congressional reaction to the president's speech was also overwhelmingly favorable. Although Senator J. William Fulbright (D-Arkansas) and other congressmen and senators who opposed the war questioned the president's sincerity, more than 300 congressmen and 40 senators cosponsored resolutions supporting the president's efforts to make peace and bring the war to an honorable end.

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